Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in out throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.
Maybe that’s why I want to touch people
so often—it’s only another way of talking.
I was aching and vulnerable, feeling far from home, when, through the harsh shore wind, I saw a large rock surrounded by the rough churned-up sea. The rock was covered with all kinds of animals: willet, gull, cormorant, sea lion, seal, pelican, otter. All had found refuge from the hammering of the sea; climbing, winging, hauling themselves on the rock; living together, laying on each other; finding this rock-oasis of wind and sun; too tired once on the rock to fight, each having been wrung out by the pounding of the wet, wet hours.
I realized this is how the wounded find their way, how we have found each other, even in this book. Every survivor, regardless of what they survive, knows the hammering of the sea, and the rock we find refuge on is an exposed place where we finally accept each other—too tired from swimming to think any longer about territories, too tired to talk except through simple touch.
The wellness group I attended was such a rock. The meeting rooms of recovery are such a rock. The thousand quiet rooms of therapy are such a rock. For those who have suffered, tolerance is not a political position or even a principle. For those of us who have suffered, who have hauled ourselves into the sun, anything exhausted beside us is family.
~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
Photo by Lisa Tate
Walk long enough
and we all trade places.
We are always surrounded and carried by the Whole, while we take turns holding and being held, falling and getting up, listening and trying to say what matters. This reminds me of Nur. She too had cancer and was a model of strength, a feisty blessing. I remember when she died. I was so sad. Yet the light was merciless in its beauty that day, forcing me to begin to heal. It made me realize, in those painfully bright hours, that no matter how I turn away, the magnificent light follows, background to my sadness.
It works the other way, too. I have known such moments of complete simplicity that all my problems and limitations seemed, for the moment, to vanish, Continue reading